The Terms “Offensive “ And “Defensive” Are Irrelevant
One can easily understand the fact from the explanation given above that the division of war as ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ is quite irrelevant to the concept of Jihad in Islam. These terms apply only to war between nations for the terms ’attack’ and ‘defence’ are used with reference to country or a nation. But when an international party rises up with a universal faith and ideology inviting the humanity at a large to embrace its faith and ideology and accept into its fold all and sundry irrespective of race and colour, language and boundary on equal footing and strives only to liquidate the powers of tyranny and oppression and replace them with the rule of its own ideology. Thus the terms ‘offense’ and ‘defence’ carry no justification in that case. The Islamic concept of Jihad has no relevance with the terms of offensive and defensive. Jihad in Islam is both offensive and defensive at one and same time. It is offensive because the followers of Islam assault the rule and authority of the opposing ideology while it is defensive because the Muslim revolutionists are constrained to capture and retain power to implement their revolutionary ideology. They do not aim at coercing their opponents to relinquish their principles and ideology.
The Status Of Non-Muslim Citizens (Zimmi) Under An Islamic Rule
Jihad in Islam does not interfere with the faith, ideology, rituals and social customs of the people of other religions. It allows them perfect freedom of religious belief and permits them to live according to their faith and creed but it does not recognize their right to administer state affairs in a manner detrimental to the ideology of Islam or continuation of such practices that are opposed to Islam and welfare of people at large. For example as soon as Islam comes into power it will ban all forms of usury and interest in the economic set up, it will not allow gambling in any forth, it will curb all forms of business and financial dealings forbidden in Islamic law, it will close down all dens of prostitution and other immoral activities; it will make it obligatory even for non-Muslim women to observe modesty in dress as required by Islamic law. Islamic government is in the collective good of the people and to safeguard its moral and social structure.
If someone charges Islam with intolerance, he should see that no creed in the world has shown as much tolerance to the votaries of other faiths as has been shown by Islam. It gives full opportunity to the people of other faith to prosper, progress and displays such magnamity towards them as has no parallel in the history of world as yet.
Charge Of Imperialism
When an Islamic government comes into existence, the Muslims are never allowed to assume despotic powers like the traditional Caesars and Chosroes. A Muslim never fights to establish personal rule and to subjugate the subjects of Allah as his own subjects. A war for personal ends cannot be termed Jihad in the cause of Allah. Such a war for selfish ends has nothing to do with Islam.
Jihad in Islam is a selfless struggle devoid of all worldly interests. It’s nothing but a sacrifice of life, money and carnal desires. If such Jihad is crowned with success and results in an Islamic government, the responsibilities of an honest and truly Muslim head of the state are so onerous and burdensome that he is virtually denied all luxuries and amenities of life. He gets no time to enjoy ease and pleasure of the life which is otherwise the main aim and desire of the aspirants for power in this material world. A ruler in Islam is neither above or below law, nor any superior being, distinct and privileged from the common man. He has no powers beyond the Islamic law. He cannot draw even half a penny more from the public exchequer as his salary than the minimum requirements of a Muslim of average means. In fact a petty shopkeeper is financially far better than the ruler of an Islamic state. The later can neither even earn as much as a petty shopkeeper nor can he enjoy a peaceful sleep during night. This is the basic difference between Islamic and un-Islamic system of government.
During the Islamic era, the governors of Khurasan, Iraq, Syria and Egypt were paid salaries even less than the ordinary inspectors of today. The first Caliphate Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) supervised and controlled such a vast empire on a salary equivalent to $2 per month!!! Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) did not exceed the equivalent amount to $3 although the Islamic government was brimming with wealth.
This is the real sense of Jihad, a term much debated and discussed and deliberately misrepresented by western media to defame Islam and Muslims.